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Sunday Gospels

Through the “Lens” of Hearing

As we begin our time of waiting for the birth of Jesus, it is dark. There are glimmers of light both historically and liturgically in the time before Jesus arrives. But until he does, we are like the blind waiting to see. Since it is so dark, let us use our hearing well as we move through the Four Sundays of Advent.

It’s the first Sunday of Advent. What do we hear? We hear people in terror and dismay. We hear the roaring of the sea. But above all of this, if we listen closely, we hear the voice of Jesus. He says, “Beware, be vigilant, pray.” (Lk 21:25-28, 34-36) When Jesus comes, it should be a day of rejoicing. And it will be if you beware, watch and pray. Beware of leaving Jesus, watch over your heart and pray that you and all people will love Jesus and long for him to come.

I hear a voice. It is calling out, “Repent and be forgiven. Repent and be forgiven.” (Lk 3:1-6) What does it mean to repent? It means to turn away from serving yourself, from worshiping yourself and to turn toward Jesus who offers you forgiveness. And what is forgiveness? It’s a fresh start. Even if you’ve failed, you can begin your friendship with Jesus again.

Now that you’ve decided to be faithful to Jesus, what should you do? Listen. “Share equally with the poor, do your work fairly, do not be greedy. Desire the coming of the Holy Spirit.” (Lk 3:10-18) This is the good news—that Jesus has come to transform your ordinary life into the Kingdom of Heaven.

This is our last Sunday before Christmas. What do we hear? We hear the voice of Mary greeting us. Listen. What does she say? For each one of us, she has a special greeting. But to all of us, she brings the same message, the same gift: Jesus. (Lk 1:39-45) And what does Jesus say to you? “Blessed are you who believe that what was spoken to you by me would be fulfilled.”